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Suburbs where parents can't contact their kids

28 Nov 2016

THE Somerset Dam 4G mobile tower will be completed by Christmas but there is still much work to be done to get residents in the region the mobile service they deserve.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann received correspondence from Telstra Consumer and Country Wide on Friday that the estimated construction completion time for the Somerset Dam tower would be December 16.

But the situation in the Somerset region has been diabolical for years and much work remains to be done.


Mr Neumann made a speech in parliament about the crisis that has unfolded.

"Most parts of Moore and the Somerset Dam simply have no reception," he said.

"It is not poor or unreliable. It does not exist.

In 2016...residents cannot make mobile calls of send text messages."

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It's undeniable: mobile phones are killing us

28 Nov 2016

Take your hand off it for a moment. Please. Hard to do, I know. The damn thing is the bane of my existence as well. It's like being the better half of an evil siamese twin. No matter where you go it's always with you, nagging, nudging, distracting and, even worse, playing with your mind.

So we'll make this as short and to the point as possible. The modern mobile phone has only been with us for little more than two decades but it has already become the first invention in more than 600 years that we carry with us everywhere.

As Jon Agar, an English professor of science and technology has pointed out, clothing and shoes were the first essentials of daily life and they were devised – presumably very quickly – in the Palaeolithic era.

Keys and money came to us courtesy of the Neolithic age (at about the same time as your father's jokes were being written, along with the television program guides for commercial digital channels). And glasses were a medieval contraption.

But for something that has quickly become so ubiquitous and so necessary that a medical term – nomophobia – has been coined to describe the anxiety felt by a user who has lost their phone or is out of mobile range, we still don't know with absolute certainty whether the device that has proved on countless occasions to be a life saver also has the ability to kill us.

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People are using mobile data at 'crazy' levels and it's making telco execs nervous

28 Nov 2016

People are going mad for mobile data all around the globe, according to telecommunications executives, as the world awaits the extra capacity that 5G will bring.

“Providing really high speed coverage everywhere has really changed the behaviour and demands [of mobile users]. We have been testing completely unlimited data plans and people go crazy,” said Jesper Oldenburg, mobile strategy & technology vice president at Denmark’s TDC Group.

Oldenburg said at the Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo that, in the face of escalating consumption, telcos were trying to figure out how to provide sufficient mobile capacity for both humans and machines — another demand that will only increase in the coming years.

Hidebumi Kitahara, senior director at Japan’s SoftBank Corporation, said that mobile data consumption per user has increased 1.5 to 2 times every year.

“We used to provide 5GB for $50,” he told the forum. “But with 5GB users are not satisfied anymore. So what we decided to do was, for an additional $10, users can get four times the data capacity — 20GB.”

Kitahara added that Softbank makes “little money” on mobile data with such increases.

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2.1Gbps speeds over LTE? That's not a typo, EE's already done it

28 Nov 2016

MBBF2016 Engineers at EE recently managed to get speeds of 2.1Gbps out of a trial LTE deployment, according to Tom Bennett, the British telco’s director of network services and devices.

“Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the fastest anyone’s got LTE to go anywhere,” Bennett told the world’s tech press at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum on Friday.

He did add that this was an engineering test rather than a realistic demonstration of speeds that consumers are likely to see soon, but the point had been made.

Explaining how EE managed to get speeds over LTE of up to 400Mbps in Wembley Stadium, Bennett mentioned how Huawei’s Smart Cities initiative had been a helping hand. EE and Huawei have been working together for the last five years, he said.

“Are we doing this as just a tech or for a good reason?” asked Bennett. The answer, of course, was that it was for a good reason: “New customers, the real techie type customers, they’re using their service and using the higher order bands, leaving the base bands free. It helps everybody keeping the tech fresh.”

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Thousands of Australians risk losing service in 2G network shutdown

27 Nov 2016

THOUSANDS of Australians could discover their mobile phones are as useless as bricks next week when the country’s largest 2G network is permanently switched off.

It’s the beginning of the end for the network that delivered phone calls during the Sydney Olympic Games but will be completely phased out in less than a year.

Experts warn as many as 250,000 Australians are still using the network and some will be unprepared for its demise.

Telstra will be the first carrier to switch off its 2G network on Thursday next week, at which time anyone using a 2G mobile phone or a 2G SIM card will no longer be able to make phone calls or send text messages. Even calls to emergency services may no longer connect.

Telstra device management director Andrew Volard said the company had been contacting its 2G customers for the past 18 months in “text messages and physical letters” to warn of the network shutdown.

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Govt quashes dedicated public safety mobile network proposal

26 Nov 2016

Will push for capabilities on existing LTE networks.

The federal government has quashed calls from public safety agencies for a dedicated LTE network, today saying it would adopt the recommendations of a Productivity Commission report that suggested using existing telco networks.

In January the Productivity Commission calculated that setting aside spectrum and building a national mobile communications network for the exclusive use of public safety agencies would cost roughly $6.2 billion.

It said buying network services off a commercial provider like Telstra or Optus over a 20-year period instead would save $4 billion.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the government supported "in principle" the commission’s recommendations.

Fifield said the government would set up a committee of commonwealth, state and territory officials to consider how to implement a nationwide, interoperable PSMB capability using existing telco mobile networks.

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Police seek serial Perth arsonist who set fire to mobile phone towers

24 Nov 2016

A serial arsonist who broke into and set fire to mobile phone towers across Perth's northern suburbs is being sought by police.

Police believe the man deliberately lit fires at telecommunications sites that have mobile phone towers and satellite dishes in Malaga, Dianella and Morley between July and October.

All three fires were set between midnight and 7:00am, police said.

The man forced entry into the sites, which are fenced-off, before starting fires inside the communication huts, damaging electrical components.

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New mobile phone tower on gets the green light

23 Nov 2016

IN A move it says will improve coverage in Bargara, Vodafone has had an application to install a tower on the Bargara Golf Course approved.

Despite Councillor Greg Barnes, whose division is centred on Bargara, opposing the application on the basis of its location, the material change of use was approved with all other Bundaberg Regional councillors giving it the nod at yesterday's ordinary meeting.

Cr Barnes questioned the tower's proximity to houses and argued an alternative site at the Bargara Service Centre on Hughes Rd would have been more appropriate.

He said when he queried a Vodafone representative about why the service centre was unsuitable he was told the visual amenity of the flag pole would be conflicted by the tower, a suggestion Cr Barnes said he found "absurd”.

Despite Cr Barnes decision to vote against the application, it was approved.

A 25m high monopole with three panel antennas along with remote radio units, combiners, feeder, mast head amplifiers and a three bay outdoor unit at ground level adjacent to the facility will now be installed.

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Rural mobile phone coverage at risk in Tassie under proposed changes, says Telstra

23 Nov 2016

THE impact on regional Tasmanian mobile phone coverage and rural black spots could be devastating if proposed changes to services are passed, Australia’s telecommunications giant has warned.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s is holding an inquiry into mobile roaming, which looks at whether Telstra towers should available to competitors, such as Optus and Vodafone in rural and remote areas.

The ACCC launched a discussion paper in September and a draft decision is expected by early next year.

But Telstra is vehemently opposed, saying it would prevent more investments in regional coverage, at a time when it has been rapidly expanding its mobile coverage.

“Regulated roaming would mean our competitors may only have to pay a tiny amount to use a network we have spent billions of dollars building,” a company spokesman said.

“Regulated roaming will not expand mobile coverage at all,” he said.

The ACCC previously considered mobile roaming in regional areas in inquiries held in 1998 and 2005.

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Telstra accused of 'deceit' over mobile phone tower

21 Nov 2016

A KOONORIGAN resident up in arms against the proposed location of a 40m mobile phone tower has accused Telstra of "deceit".

Lismore City Council has also joined more than 50 residents of the area in opposing plans for the tower over visual amenity concerns.

Work on the tower at 1533 Nimbin Rd is set to begin in early 2017.

Funded under the Federal Government's blackspot program, its aim is to alleviate poor mobile phone reception.

Telstra says it believes there is "strong community support for this project".

Area general manager Mike Marom said: "Our overriding objective in participating in the Federal Government's Mobile Black Spot Program is to maximise new coverage to regions that have little to no mobile coverage.

"Once complete, the planned mobile base station will deliver 3G and 4G mobile coverage to a large part of Koonorigan for the first time, including some of Gordon Road. "

Another planned mobile base station at Coffee Camp will also provide coverage to the northern Koonorigan area and another mobile base station is also planned nearby at The Channon.

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